Ski season will arrive in Washington today at noon, and at least one resort claims the snow is deeper than normal for opening day.
Stevens Pass ski area will open one beginner and one intermediate lift for four hours today to offer a preview of the season before Crystal Mountain and Mount Baker follow suit Wednesday morning.
While Stevens Pass will be first to open, its website warns of early season conditions (exposed rocks and bushes). Crystal Mountain says it has so much snow it won’t have to offer such warnings when it cranks of up three lifts at 9 a.m. Wednesday.
“We have 4 feet of snow up top,” Crystal spokeswoman Tiana Enger said Monday. “It’s like (owner) John Kircher said, you won’t have to bring your rock skis for opening day this year.”
Crystal Mountain, which received 24 inches of snow Sunday and Monday, plans to open its Mount Rainier Gondola and Green Valley and Rainier Express lifts Wednesday and Thursday and will discount lift tickets to $45. Tickets regularly sell for $66.
Enger said the ski area hopes to open more lifts Friday.
As of Monday, Enger said, snowcats were unable to make it to the upper mountain to work on grooming on avalanche control because of the amount of snow.
“We need to give ourselves a day to get the hill controlled because it’s buried under so much snow,” Enger said. “But that’s a good problem to have.”
Thanksgiving is the target for opening day for many Northwest ski areas. While much has been made about forecasts for mild weather perhaps delaying the start of ski season this year, the delay has proved negligible. Crystal Mountain opened Nov. 16 last season.
“It’s still considered an early opening,” Enger said.
Wednesday and Thursday at Crystal Mountain, skiers and snowboarders will be allowed to ski down from the upper mountain or ride down on the gondola. However, snow coverage is not as deep on the lower mountain and skiers and snowboarders should be careful, Enger said.
Mount Baker also plans to open Wednesday, thanks to 20 inches of snow Sunday evening through Monday afternoon. It was reporting a 41-inch base at Heather Meadows.
White Pass and the Summit at Snoqualmie have yet to announce opening dates. The Summit, the lowest ski area in the Washington Cascades at 3,000 feet above sea level, received 10 inches of snow Sunday and Monday but also endured rain. It also rained at White Pass on Monday.
Lift tickets at Stevens Pass will be $20 today (regularly $62).Craig Hill: 253-597-8497 firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/adventure @AdventureGuys